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'It’s a real good program' | Salvation Army helps veteran get back on his feet

This National Salvation Army week, David Haywood shares how the organization helped him and what he's doing to pay it forward.

TEMPLE, Texas — This week marks National Salvation Army Week.

The organization helps thousands of people every year get back on their feet like David Haywood.

Haywood was living in South Carolina at the beginning of the pandemic.

"I have a 15-year-old son and at that time he wanted to come back and be with his mom and so he told me he wouldn't go unless I went with him and so that's how we got here," Haywood said.

Haywood said he was able to get resources through the Salvation Army's Veterans Assistance program that helped him secure housing and furniture.

"I think within 22 days I stuck with the program, I had a place and all my stuff to put in it," Haywood said.

Lt. David Beckham, Commander of the Salvation Army serving Bell County, said the organization is focused on keeping people off the streets.

"We are really doing the best that we can to prevent the revolving door of homelessness and people coming back into our doors once they leave," Beckham said.

Before Haywood moved to Texas, he said veterans always held a special place in his heart.

"The jobs that I've had I've always had jobs assisting veterans," Haywood said.

And now that he's been helped, he wants to make sure other veterans get that same opportunity.

"What I've done here I started collecting furniture for veterans in Killeen and from veterans that move out that I know about. [So when] one of the guys call me I'll give them some furniture," Haywood said.

"I'm thankful that God sends individuals like David our way that we can help and are willing to be an advocate for others that can look at his life and also be encouraged for what he's done in his life," Beckham said.

The Salvation Army has some 3.5 million volunteers worldwide but could always use more volunteers.

While Beckham is proud of the work the organization is doing when it comes to providing food through the pantry and community meals,  he said more focus needs to be placed on mental health. 

So he's working on bringing some licensed counselors or psychologists on board.